Isolation In Alice Walker's Everyday Use

Topics: Family, Liquidambar styraciflua Pages: 4 (824 words) Published: March 14, 2017

An individual can lose all sense of self when denied the basic connections that life provides. In Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use,” a young woman named Dee struggles to find her foundation. Unfortunately, her identity begins to disintegrate as a result of her isolation. Through the utilization of character development, Alice Walker illustrates Dee’s distinct inability to connect with the people around her.
Dee’s failure to see the value of her family history is the most obvious portrayal of her disconnection. She shows interest in the churn top whittled by Uncle Buddy as well as the dasher that goes along with it. However, it is only for artistic purposes that Dee holds any interest at all. When the man accompanying her, Hakim-a-barber, asks about the creator of the dasher, Dee has to look to her mother for the information (1590). She doesn’t know the history behind the items; therefore, her interest isn’t based on a connection to her rich family heritage. She simply wants to place the items on display, using “the churn top as a centerpiece for the alcove table” and deciding that she will “think of something artistic to do with the dasher” (1591). In contrast,...

When her mother recalls the fire that took their first house, she remembers Maggie hugging her neck while Dee stood “off under the sweet gum tree she used to dig gum out of” (1587). Even in this moment of great distress and chaos, Dee simply watches from a distance while her sister clings to her mother for life. When she arrives to visit her family, she grabs a Polaroid camera from her car and begins to take snapshots (1589). Dee doesn’t ask Hakim-a-barber to include her in the photos. Instead, she snaps photos of her mother and her sister in their surroundings while she observes from a distance. Because Dee lacks the ability to connect, she is unable to include herself within her own family...
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